Eskom to hold briefing on wage negotiations

[] — Power utility Eskom is to hold a briefing on Thursday morning on wage negotiations with the unions. This comes as two of the unions in a wage dispute with the utility – the National Union of Mineworkers (Num) and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) – confirmed strike notices on Wednesday.

The third union – Solidarity – on Wednesday rejected Eskom’s offer as it currently stands and has pushed through certain revisions for the power utility to consider.

If it goes ahead, the strike would start next week and would threaten power supply in the final week of the FIFA World Cup.

According to Business Day, the unions have rejected Eskom’s offer of a 8.5% pay rise and R1 000 housing allowance. They are demanding a 9% rise and R4 000 housing allowance. The NUM said it would consider an 8.5% rise if the housing allowance was raised to R2 500.

The Num and Numsa represent 21 000 of Eskom’s 35 000 workforce and Solidarity 8 000.

Business Day said Eskom human resources director Bhabhalazi Bulunga accused the unions last night of leaving the negotiation table before an agreement could be reached.

“We are still prepared to negotiate the matter, but the unions have decided to leave us on the table … we want them back,” he said.

Bulunga said Eskom was still offering a 8.5% pay rise, and insisted industrial action would be illegal and unprotected as Eskom provided an essential service.